Healthcare costs exceeded $400 during at least one month for more than a quarter of Americans in 2017, ballooning far above the amount Federal Reserve estimates that most U.S. consumers have saved for surprise expenses, according to a new study in Health Affairs.
By analyzing office, inpatient and pharmacist reports , study authors found that most consumers incurred the majority of their care costs in just two months of the year. Of the 18 million people studied using the 2017 IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database, researchers found that 83% of enrollees paid an average of $954 in out-of-pocket healthcare costs, while 17% reported no out-of-pocket healthcare costs.
Michal Horny, an assistant professor at Emory University and co-author of the study, said that most discussion around healthcare affordability in the U.S. centers on what patients spend per year, rather than the frequency with which they are billed. While patients